Wells Fargo Refuses to Honor an Old Cashier’s Check
Wells Fargo is refusing to honor a 1982 cashier’s check. The 73-year-old man purchased the cashier’s check at Central Fidelity Bank in Virginia. That bank was later acquired by Wachovia which just recently was acquired by Wells Fargo. Full details of this dispute are described in this Herald-Tribune article in this Tampa Bay Times article.
Wells Fargo claims it doesn’t have to pay since there’s a five-year statute of limitations on cashier's checks. However, the man’s attorney says "Cashiers checks have to be paid regardless of the time that goes by [..] There's no five-year limit on the payment. They are a substitute for cash and have to be paid.” Apparently, the circuit court judge agreed and awarded the man $10,768 from Wells Fargo. Unfortunately, Wells Fargo decided to appeal the decision. You have to wonder how much of that money he’ll ever get back after he pays all of the attorney fees. On top of that, he’s waiting for a kidney transplant.
This reminds me a little of the time when Wells Fargo refused to honor its CD documentation that designated me as a beneficiary after my dad’s death. Fortunately, I was able to resolve this without an attorney (see my review).
This issue is also a good reminder to be careful with cashier’s checks. They should not be considered equivalent to cash. According to the Tampa Bay Times article:
Today's cashier's checks typically carry disclaimers saying they will be voided if not cashed in a specified period of time, often 90 days or six months.
That was not the case in 1982 when this man purchased that cashier’s check.
My husband had a traditional IRA and 4 months after his death I went to convert part of a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, take his RMD and disclaim the rest of this IRA and the rest of the traditional IRA's to the contingent beneficiaries, our children. The credit union could not find the paper with the beneficiaries even though I had a copy of it when it was opened with the credit unions managers signature on it they refused to honor it. I did have the disclosure (that we had to ask for when it was opened) that stated if there were no beneficiaries it would go to the wife, if no wife, then children, if no children, parents, if no parents, brothers and sisters, if no brothers and sisters, then to probate. Their new disclosure now states if the credit union has no copies of the beneficiary it will automatically go to probate. I now have written all the banks and credit union where I have money in and have on their letterhead who the is beneficiary on all of my IRA's, CDs's, checking and savings accounts and life insurance polcies. I have them all back except for one credit union. When I get that one I will make copies for each of the children and give them each a copy. I have become more skeptical. Another good idea is to divide each IRA and have one child on each IRA, but I have not done this because I want each child to know that I am dividing things equally. By having them all on each IRA they will have that information and not ever wonder. Just another note this credit union did not even know what disclaiming was. This was a whole other issue.
That agency found one of the checks for $1,800 in its records and sent him the money. But the treasury department said the other checks, totaling $10,000, had been returned to Central Fidelity Bank in June 1987. They had become a liability of that bank when it was sold to Wachovia in 1998.
To #4 I worked in a bank for 30 years and there are several instances to use a cashier check
hiding money from a husband or wife, hiding it from IRS (though that never works), being able to carry a large sum of money while traveling thinking you could cash it anyplace at anytime, having it available anytime anywhere day or night in an emergency, trying to hide assests during a bankruptcy. Some have kept large sums of cash in the house and lost it during a robbery or a fire. Even fireproof safes only work for a specified amount of time. I know of a customer who buried cash in a jar inside of another jar and went back 2 years later and the moisture made it look like mice had gotten into it. A bunch of pieces. They had to send it into the fed and got back about 10¢ on the dollar.
Cashier’s Checks are actually bank drafts now. The gentelman will loose in court.
World English Dictionary
Pay the 73 year old.